Ben Goldsmith (Letters, May 4) claims that climate policies are not pushing up energy bills.
He obviously is not aware that, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, subsidies for green energy will cost £9.1billion this year, and will rise to £14.3.billion by 2020. To that figure must be added £11 billion for the smart meter rollout. All of this must be paid for by consumers.
Mr. Goldsmith also claims that wind power, along with gas, is now the cheapest form of electricity. Could he explain why wind farms still require large subsidies, rather than competing on the open market?
- - -Paul Homewood, Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
HIS HEAD IN CLOUD CUCKOO LAND?
Letter To The Telegraph by Paul Homewood
Heads up for the Telegraph, who have published my letter in response to the one below from Ben Goldsmith:
SIR – Charles Moore couldn’t have got it more wrong in writing that climate change fears are elitist and limited to those in metropolitan areas.
MPs up and down the country report increasing numbers of constituents raising this issue with them. There is in fact huge public backing for action on climate change, and in particular support for energy efficiency and renewables.
Moreover, it is a myth that climate policies are driving up energy bills: wind and gas are now demonstrably the cheapest sources of electricity in Britain. Bill-payers are better off as a result of green policy measures which drive greater efficiency. And, ultimately, our economy is stronger because of the world-leading contribution our country makes to green industries.
As we leave the European Union, we must continue to show leadership, encourage innovation, work towards energy self-sufficiency and invest in long-term sustainable energy solutions – no matter what the ever-shrinking collection of climate naysayers do to try to hinder such progress.
- - Ben Goldsmith
Chairman, Conservative Environment Network
The Goldsmith letter aroused a lot of reaction, including these letters:
SIR – I wonder which universe Ben Goldsmith (Letters, May 4) is living in.
When he talks about renewable energy costs, I assume he is looking only at the bottom line of his own company, and not at those of manufacturers whose costs are dominated by the price of electricity.
Do his calculations of the benefits of renewables include the cost to workers, companies and the Exchequer of the loss of Britain’s ceramics industry, the aluminium smelting industry and the cement industry due to soaring energy prices?
We almost lost the steelworks in South Wales. That was only saved by the taxpayer funding the carbon taxes that were driving up costs and destroying the company’s ability to compete with producers in countries that are not determined to sacrifice jobs at the altar of renewable energy.
- - Pamela Wheeler, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
SIR – Mr Goldsmith thinks wind and solar panels are now the cheapest sources of electricity in Britain.
He must be unaware that his claim only holds water if government-imposed costs (in the form of arbitrary carbon taxes) are preferentially loaded on to fossil-fuel generators, and if the grid reinforcement and system-balancing costs associated with intermittent renewables are ignored.
- - Fiona Bick, Westhill, Aberdeenshire
SIR – Charles Moore clearly sets out the case for reviewing and reducing energy costs for both businesses and consumers.
Industry needs energy that is competitively priced. Consumers want to know what the real costs are, what taxes are levied and why. A cap on energy bills is just a red herring.
We are entering a new era of supply and storage. It is therefore vital that component costs are clearly identified to enable a proper debate to take place.
- - Paul Cook, Hayling Island, Hampshire
SIR – Britain’s “coal-free” days are celebrated – but ironically they are down to Drax, Europe’s largest coal-fired power station, which, by burning wood, now produces 16 per cent of Britain’s renewable electricity. This wood is grown in the US and brought in on ships that produce more pollution than all the diesel cars in London combined.
- - Kevin Prescott, Littlehampton, West Sussex